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September 9, 2020

Controlling Karachi

Editorial

 
September 9, 2020

Only days after the ambitious ‘Karachi Transformation Project’ was announced by Prime Minister Imran Khan, who visited the capital of Sindh and put forward a Rs1.1 trillion plan to reconstruct it and solve the problems in the city, a new row appears to have broken out between the federal and Sindh governments. This essentially concerns the funds to be used for the projects that fall under the KTP and who is contributing to them. There is much confusion with even the data put out by the Planning Commission showing ambiguities that are difficult to explain. There is also clear evidence of mistrust between the federal and provincial governments, which will not help any transformation effort to go ahead.

A plan so large as the reconstruction of Karachi can work only if all stakeholders are ready to work together and contribute to each other's efforts without falling into petty disputes, which threaten the success of any work to be undertaken. As one example, both the centre and the provincial government have claimed that the Karachi Circular Railway project will be funded by them. This is obviously not realistic. It also shows the problems that are being faced.

The misunderstandings and doubts between the PPP in Sindh and the PTI in the centre have crept up once again. They will, quite evidently, have an impact on the success of the massive project, which is planned to bring clean water to the people of Karachi, to reconstruct drains to improve sewerage and to undertake other work, which can help Karachi function like a modern city. There is also concern in Sindh that through the KTP, the centre may be trying to gain control of the Sindh capital, with Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah saying in unambiguous terms that the PPP will not let that happen. The problem needs to be sorted out quickly so that the people of Karachi do not suffer any further. Their needs must be put before all political matters, so that the problems they confront on a day to day basis can be resolved without further delay. The dispute over financing must be sorted out and a meeting involving all parties held to ensure this can be made possible as quickly as is conceivable, given the needs of Karachi and its people. The rest of Sindh too needs to be looked at as the CM has said, since the floods affected the entire province and not just Karachi.